Is RED Killing Hydrogen One Modular Features? (UPDATED)

UPDATE: The Verge is reporting that RED has removed a key feature of the Hydrogen One from its website: the modular upgrades that were promised in 2019. Those expansion modules included a camera with interchangeable lenses, an external battery pack, and additional memory. RED founder Jannard stated last year that without those modules, it would be difficult to be successful as a conventional smartphone.

One user on REDDIT stated that the only thing that got him and others excited was the prospect of a camera module. So where does that leave things?


It’s no secret that while the RED Hydrogen One smartphone was bleeding edge with its holographic display, its debut this year has fallen somewhat flat. But there’s still a lot of promise that the 4 view image can create a new kind of media consumption, and RED is going to take another shot at it, by focusing on professional features in version 2.

A series of obstacles and then new discoveries have given us the opportunity to significantly improve the entire program, not only for HYDROGEN but also for RED. The RED team, led by Jarred Land, as of now will now be fully in charge of the professional image capture program for HYDROGEN and the HYDROGEN team is fully engaged on the new in-device image capture system. Both are major advancements to what was previously posted. – Jim Jannard, RED User Forums

The main complaint of Hydrogen is that its 4V holographic screen is just plain blurry.

The reviews of the much ballyhooed Hydrogen One were mixed. Some calling it bleeding edge, while others said RED’s Android based smartphone was all hype. But when you’re blazing a new trail, trying to redefine the state of the art, sometimes you’re going to trip on the trail. With Hydrogen One, the “obstacles” eluded to by RED founder Jim January this week can be best described as a blurry 3D image, bulky design, and an under powered processor.

The last one is largely due to RED being forced to delay the smartphone’s release more than once, giving the industry the opening to move past it with more powerful designs. That’s not a surprise. But now, with version 2, RED is going to double down and put the professional cinema camera division in charge, and that means RED’s self proclaimed  Fire Chief, Jarred Land gets to put his touch on how 4V content can work in the RED ecosystem.

Essentially, that means that RED will aim Hydrogen squarely at its professional clientele. But I rather thought that was the main market to begin with? This leads me with far more questions than answers.

Jannard went on to say that RED’s Hydrogen One as a stand alone smartphone isn’t going away, and will continue to be refined with updates. Well, that’s OK and all, but with an underpowered processor and a lackluster holographic display, there’s really not much that you can do to make it better. Or can you? Jannard said in the RED User forums that there will be the most significant 4V updates coming in the next two weeks.

Additionally, Jannard also renewed his commitment to “Obseolescence obselete” and with the Hydrogen One, this will be no different. I’m not really sure what that means, and even Jannard tried to make things more clear by saying “obsolescence obsolete for HYDROGEN owners means that your H1 is NOT obsolete when the Pro camera version comes out.”

It’s all very cryptic. But one thing is sure, RED is firmly behind Hydrogen, and as plans to take it to the next level. Whether we want them to or not.

About James DeRuvo 801 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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